So I spend a decent amount of time scouring the city (and the internet) for wonderful art. No big deal, right? Whateva.
Ok, honestly I spend a LOT of (personal) time looking for art. A lot. It’s bad. I buy book after book after book. Whenever Amazon or Oprah says “read this book,” I buy a copy. You may ask, “And how many books have you plowed through recently?” Answer: Zilch. HOWEVER…I have had some amazing art finds cross my path. Picture it: me finding a vintage, scribbly, black-and-white ink drawing on eBay, showing it to a client, buying it, and finding that the signature reads “Pollock, 1954.” A good deal? Maybe. A fake? Quite possibly. A rad piece of original art?? TOTALLY.
Check out said art below…
I promise I’m making a point here, and it is this: Some people will spend a respectable amount of money on original art. Others will spend a…somewhat less…respectable amount on their art. Either way, with proper curation (and some helpful, awesome styling tips) your featured art can look simply stellar, no matter the size of your financial investment.
So let’s mix things up. Let’s tweak our frame of reference and enlarge it to include what I’m dubbing “humble art.” What is humble art, you ask? Hmmm. Let’s see…..Etsy prints, student projects, flea market treasures, phone pad doodles, Sunday afternoon craft time, magazine clippings, framed personal collections, friend art, prints of famous originals, eBay auction items, estate sale scores, kindergarten masterpieces, finds from your grandma’s closet….to name just a few.
You understand, we’re being somewhat polite here–“humble art” does not encompass those spectacular “splurge” pieces. We are not talking about that fabulous painting you proudly and preciously hang in your entryway (the one you saved up to buy after telling the kids Santa wasn’t coming this year).
Take another example, in this case a flea market treasure: four vintage lithographs of soldiers in various uniform.
No signature, no series numbering—nothing to make these categorizable as “fine art.” And yet, the coloring of the uniforms and the jaunty posing of the soldiers is undeniably interesting. Now take these pieces, pair them with gold leafing and navy blue and…wham!
Kinda great, right? The key is taking interesting art (in all it’s semi-pedigreed glory) and, with good styling and color pairings, make it stand out and work within a space in a new way.
A few other examples…
Not just a zebra doodle, friends. Nay. When paired with trophy urns, found feathers and weathered metallic accents it becomes the ultimate statement in bachelor pad chic.
I’m almost positive this black-and-white art was homemade. But accompanied by brazen mustard-yellow lamps and simple tablescaping it strikes a wonderfully austere-yet-playful chord. And what a pretty chord. One of my favs.
Lastly, take this dining room. Underscaled but elegant. Dark and moody, glamorous and inviting. If my life story ever gets turned into a movie, this would be the film set. And Ryan Gosling would be the lead star. And Lindsay Lohan would finally get her life back on track…. But I digress.
Now consider the art: expertly hung on the wall, amidst glowing sconces, radiating taste and sophistication. I can honestly tell you that while some of those life sketches are probably valuable, several are eBay finds! And through classy framing choices it all works towards a charming conclusion. Just melts my heart.
The moral of this tale: don’t be afraid of art with a questionable pedigree. Buy pieces that you love and are likely to love for years. The best pieces are the ones that speak to you, the ones that tell you a story. And remember, a murky history just makes the story all the more appealing. Cheers!
Active in the Little Rock design scene since 2006, Joshua Plumlee is passionate about reimagining elegant interiors with a focus on original artwork and an unconventional approach to luxurious style.